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Posts from — December 2018

Book Review: The New Dewtas by Suraj Kothiyal

The New Dewtas by Suraj Kothiyal
 

The New Dewtas by Suraj Kothiyal

Summary:

(Goodreads)

Neer, the head priest of the Himalayas, is troubled by the horrifying visions in his dream. On Ganga Maiyya’s behest, he embarks on a journey to the doomed island of Bali. The island, plagued with cyclic torments of Sekala and Neskala and suffering from constant rainfall, faces an imminent danger of drowning in sea. However, Neer’s power was no match for the strong evil forces that kidnapped the king and the queen, activating the volcano of Mt Agung. With the neighboring king of Java on his toes to attack and conquer the struggling island of Bali, will the gritty prince Erlangga, assisted by Neer, be able to save his kingdom? Read to find out how people turn towards the new dewtas introduced by Neer as the end becomes evident and how Eka-dasa-Rudra helps in arousing the most furious energy of this world, Rudra.
 

The New Dewtas by Suraj Kothiyal
Title: The New Dewtas
Author: Suraj Kothiyal
Paperback: 222 pages
Publisher: Leadstart Publishing (Oct 17th 2018)
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology, India
Read: paperback

Stars: ★★★☆☆
Buy On: Amazon US | Amazon India

 
 
 

My Review:

Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author for an honest review. All opinions are honestly mine. 😉

Rating: 3.5/5

Cover: Simple & Shiny, Dark & Bright

Paper and font: Ebony & Ivory

Readability, language: Easy on Eyes & Mind

Why did I pick this book:
1. The author himself called me with a request to review and agreed to an honest review!
2. The book’s premise got my attention. I enjoy Indian Mythological stories and this one for a change involved Indian Gods but was not set in India.

Balians believe in Neskalam-Sekalam, Evil & Good. They believe that an increase in one automatically feeds an increase in the other to keep the balance. The King of Java in a bid to usurp Bali has woken the old Gods and created an imbalance that threatens to destroy the island country.
Neer, a Himalayan Priest has had visions of Bali and a force has driven him to go there to save the island and introduce new gods to them in a bid to save the island country.
Can Neer introduce Balians to new Gods, can new Gods overcome the old Gods? Can Bali be saved?That’s the story.

Influences from Bali

The title ‘The New Dewtas, The Rise of Rudra’, has a Balian influence to its spelling and is appropriate to the story as the tale involves new Gods and Rudra being invoked to save the land. The cover has an Indian Roadside Piratey feel yet it’s good quality and depicts Shiva standing in the middle of a split Balian temple welcoming a new dawn. It’s a dark cover showing the emergence of new light with a blurb that tickles the mind and makes you want to know more of the story.

Based on a popular Balian folklore of Maharishi Markandeya who introduced Hinduism to Bali, The New Dewtas spins it’s own tale of the coming of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva to Bali. Suraj Kothiyal through the story gives insight into the original Balian beliefs in ancestral spirits that protected the people, old Gods of myth and legend, and sekala and neskala, the balance between good and evil, the balance between everything actually – as more of one thing must bring about more of the other.

Set on the island of Bali Suraj Kothiyal has used the island, it’s people and its history to write out an adventure story with a prince and a priest fighting evil together. Mt. Agung the volcano, Mt. Sumeru the golden mountain, the gods Rangda and Barong, the mother temple Besakih, and the once-in-a-century Eka Dasa Rudra ritual are a part of this tale.
The book also has well drawn illustrations done by Sankha Banerjee which add to the visualisation of the story.

The Prince and The Priest

Erlangga, the Prince of Bali and Neer, a Himalaya Priest are the main characters of the story. Erlangga is shown as a strong but human character. He puts his island and it’s people above all else and yet he struggles with the idea of fighting his own mother, the Queen who has been bewitched and has transformed into Rangda, the evil witch. Neer is a young priest who must fight various temptations, rise above human failings, and overcome hurdles to spiritually further himself and save the island.

The characters have a lot of potential but I felt that Suraj Kothiyal has not explored them fully. The character detail feels superficial and to the point and most likely the reason why none of the characters made an impression on me. I would have liked to know more about Neer, Erlangga and a lot of the other characters too, like the Empu twins – their backstories, thoughts, motives, interactions,…

What Worked for Me & What Didn’t

The story is laid out well and holds a good pace mostly through out with a pick up towards the climax. I found myself full of anticipation and excitement towards the end and the book did not disappoint.

When I picked up The New Dewtas, I was sceptical about my liking it, the cover at first glance seemed cheap, the author’s note had errors, I wasn’t expecting much from the book. The writing style and language though grew on me and by midpoint I found I was enjoying the writing style; and there were no errors in the actual text of the story. The language is simple and the book reads like a simple Grandma’s bedtime story.

Wherein lies my biggest complaint with the book – it is not detailed enough. There were a lot of events and sub-plots that I would have liked to know more about. A lot of characters are introduced who seem important but it turns out they play trivial roles, like Takala, a girl who shows up as a possible love interest for Neer, but that idea goes nowhere. Sural Kothiyal offers all the information you need but not all that you want. This book has potential to be double the story with lots more action and detail filled in.

As of now though, The New Dewtas is a great light read, a simple tale of good triumphs over evil, and an insight into old Bali culture and tradition. I recommend you read The New Dewtas if you have an interest in mythology/folklore and it’s spin-off stories. Also if you have a thing for Indian Writing.

Buy On: Amazon US | Amazon India

About the Author:

 
Suraj Kothiyal, hails from Dehradun with his family roots belonging to the Himalya region. His grandfather, who came to Dehradun from his home in Himalyas at an age of 13, serves as an inspiration for his debut novel, The Lost Devtas. The New Dewtas is his second novel.
 
Author Links:
WebsiteGoodreadsTwitter
 
 

December 27, 2018   No Comments